SAS believes consumers will not be compensated for trips canceled during the 2019 pilot strike. The Consumer Council did not accept this and now they are getting the support of the European Court of Justice.
- NDP-Dor Martin Guernhagen
Correction: NDP originally wrote that STAS customers owe more than a billion dollars. This is wrong. The company’s latest quarterly report shows the exact number is 150 million. The error was corrected on June 17, 2021 at 07.03.
When an airline cancels your trip, there are rules about what rights you have. You can get a refund of what the ticket price is, but there may also be talk of additional compensation. However, you will not receive this if the reason for the cancellation is something that is not under the control of the aircraft such as storms or riots.
The SAS said they could do nothing to prevent a strike, so they would not provide compensation to passengers affected by the strike after the pilot strike in 2019. However, the Consumer Council said a strike was not an extraordinary event.
According to SAS estimates, this is NOK 150 million.
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Receives the support of the European Court of Justice
Inger Liz Flyverkett, director of the Consumer Council, believes one of her own employees is not as powerless as the weather gods. According to the council, SAS will be available to customers affected by the strike. The European Court of Justice has agreed.
This is because when such a claim was made in the Adunda District Court in Sweden, advice was sought from the European Court of Justice. The verdict said a strike did not exempt planes from paying compensation to their passengers.
– SAS is not indebted to passengers
John Eckoff, press manager at SAS, on the other hand, believes the airline is not indebted to passengers. According to the rules, the SAS found alternative transport and he told the NDP that the additional costs incurred in connection with the strike would be offset to the affected passengers.
– The starting point of SAS is that a strike is always an extraordinary circumstance, i.e. it cannot provide additional sustainable compensation to passengers. Scandinavian regulators and dispute resolution organizations all considered the strike to be an extraordinary event, he says.
Judgment of the European Court of Justice is pending, with 30-40 cases pending before the Aviation Appeals Board. When the results come from there, they are definitely followed, he says.
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Surprising EU verdict
Eckoff adds that the decision of the European Court of Justice, which came this spring, was very surprising. SAS will follow the verdict. This means that passengers have the right to apply for compensation for flights canceled in connection with the 2019 pilot strike.
– It assumes you have a confirmed booking canceled due to a pilot strike. You can apply through SAS’s websites, he says.
The Consumer Council, for its part, now pays the SAS what they owe to the victims of the strike. Flywerket says one can calculate the amount in the Consumer Council’s flight calculator.